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Viagra Boys Review
Review - Viagra Boys

Album Review: Viagra Boys – Welfare Jazz (Year0001)

4.5
4.5

Let’s not kid ourselves last year was a shit heap for the most part, that being said, despite the absence of live shows, there were some stella albums put out across the rock scene and when output did fall I turned to bands that I’d been told to listen to but never got round to doing so. One of these was Swedish post-punk band Viagra Boys who immediately intrigued me with there mix of The Presidents of The United States of America and psychedelic mindfuckery so I was pleased to see that they had an album scheduled for 2021 (what will be the greatest year for music of all time). Now that I’ve had a couple days with Welfare Jazz, stewing in its absurdity, I feel that I am finally ready to say my piece. 

At first it came across to me as if they had undertaken a slight journey away from their more aggressive pure punk tones but on second and third listen it becomes clear that notion is bullshit. Their music hasn’t sobered itself up it has got more drunk, gone out, and had a love child with a deformed jazz teacher addicted to Adderall. But you know what? Yeah, the baby’s screams might at first seem jarring and harsh but it won’t take you long before you realise the sounds this baby is making is some funky shit. 

Opening up with Ain’t Nice this album starts as it means to go on with an ultra-fuzzy bassline getting you hooked from the word go. You would be forgiven if you didn’t pick up the Swedish heritage, with classic punk vocals occupying most of the songs on this album, not including a foray into country music that borders on the line of parody at the end of the album. This album is at its best when its snarling and uninhabited by any thoughts of anything, with songs like Secret Canine Agent and Girls & Boys getting you wishing you’d picked up that 8 ball from your dealer before lockdown, the later, in the best way possible, sounding like a laughing gas headache at the end of a long night.

At points this album almost has whispers of Goat Girls debut, with its flirtation with electro jazz and tendency to have soundscapes that clock in under a minute dispersed throughout, but with Goat Girls debut there always seemed to be some sort of place journey the listener was being taken on, here it feels like you’re having a game of heads up with a speed freak, trying desperately and intensely to talk your ears off about a toad before moving on to a completely unrelated subject, like a secret canine agent. That’s not to say that this album feels disjointed, it doesn’t in the slightest, with its aggression and tonality dragging it through to the finish line and inhabiting the listener like they were at a fucking séance.

I’ve got to be honest this wasn’t an album I was passionately excited for going into 2021 but it turned out to be a perfect yard stick for any bands planning to release an album this year. Viagra Boys have done the musical equivalent of scoring the first penalty in a shoot-out turning around and shouting “That’s what I’ve got, it’s your turn you fuckers” and you can’t help but joining them.

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